KFC is planning to create 5,400 new roles across its 965 restaurants in the UK and Ireland by the end of the year.
Despite a devastating number of job losses across the restaurant, leisure and hospitality industries, the fried chicken chain said the new roles are in addition to the 4,300 created since March.
Boosted by a surge in demand for online deliveries and takeaway meals during the coronavirus pandemic, KFC is currently on track to hire 10,000 people by the end of the year.
The new jobs will be partly supported by the government’s “Kickstart Scheme”, which helps employers create opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds at risk from long-term unemployment.
Launched last month, the programme offers businesses funding to pay staff the national minimum wage in a bid to get young people into work. It is expected to run until December 2021.
However, the fast food chain confirmed that the roles will be on a permanent basis - either full-time or part-time and offering a minimum of 25 hours per week.
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The UK unemployment rate reached its highest level in more than three years, figures revealed earlier this month. It is expected to rise in November once the furlough scheme comes to an end.
Paula MacKenzie, KFC’s UK and Ireland general manager, said: “There’s no denying it’s been a tough year for the hospitality sector, and we’re already seeing the substantial impact of that across our high streets and city centres.
“With new regional and national lockdowns coming into effect, it’s an uncertain time for many businesses – but due to the phenomenal support from our teams and fans, as well as the governments of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, we’re really excited to be able to welcome over 5,000 new team members ahead of Christmas.”
Earlier this year KFC scrapped its “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan from its advertising, after saying that it “doesn’t feel quite right” during the COVID-19 era of hand washing and social distancing. The company had been using the slogan for 64 years.
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